Former U.S. officials meet with North Korea diplomats for informal talks

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Nov. 17, 2016 at 11:29 AM
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SEOUL, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Former U.S. officials are meeting with North Korean diplomats in Geneva on Thursday in what is yet another round of informal talks known as Track 2.

Joel Wit, editor of 38 North, a Johns Hopkins website dedicated to North Korea issues, and Robert Einhorn, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, are to meet with North Korea's deputy ambassador to the United Nations and Pyongyang's director general for North American affairs at the foreign ministry, Yonhap reported.

Both Wit and Einhorn are former State Department officials. Wit served as senior advisor to former U.S. negotiator Robert Gallucci during the Clinton administration. Einhorn served as the State Department's special advisor for non-proliferation and arms control under former State Secretary Hillary Clinton.

The meeting marks the first time former U.S. officials have made contact with North Korean diplomats since the U.S. presidential election last week.

The two sides held a similar meeting in late October in Malaysia, when North Korean diplomats met with Robert Gallucci; Leon Sigal, a North Korea specialist; and former U.S. special envoy for North Korea Joseph DeTrani.

On Thursday in Geneva, Deputy Ambassador Jang Il Hun did not comment when asked by a Yonhap reporter on whether he had prepared a message for the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Wit also said he didn't want to take questions from the press.

Seoul said Track 2 dialogues are not related to South Korea policy.

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